India trains delayed due to 'drunk' station master

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India runs 11,000 trains every day, of which 7,000 are passenger trains

Several trains were delayed in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh after the station master got drunk and fell asleep while on duty, officials said.

Deep Singh did not respond to repeated calls from officials, causing them to rush to the Murshadpur train station.

According to local media, Mr Singh was found sleeping in his office with empty alcohol bottles under his cot.

Authorities said an inquiry had been ordered into the incident.

They added that a medical examination showed a high level of alcohol in his blood.

"He was dead drunk and could barely walk," a senior railway official is quoted as saying in The Hindu newspaper. He added that it was "a very serious matter" which would be further investigated.

According to sources at the station, many long-distance trains had to stop and wait since there was no green signal at the station.

A large number of trains pass through the station every day. Across the country, more than 22 million Indians commute daily on about 9,000 trains.

Such unusual incidents are not uncommon in India. Employees were suspended in the state of Orissa after 22 carriages detached from a train and sped backwards for 11km (seven miles) in April.

Last November, a group of Indian farmers woke up to find that the train they were travelling on had sped 160km in the "wrong direction".

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